Lt. Gov. Newsom Issues California Marijuana Legalization Report


The Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, led by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, released its “Pathways Report: Policy Options for Regulating Marijuana in California”. The report has been eagerly awaited by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, or ReformCA, to serve as a guiding document for the language of their forthcoming marijuana legalization initiative.

According to the Commission’s statement, “the report draws from the research and public forums of the Blue Ribbon Commission to provide a comprehensive view of the strategies, policy goals, and policy options available to Californians as they consider the legalization and taxation of marijuana policy.” Some of those principles of guidance include:

Promote the public interest by… protecting California’s youth and promoting public health and safety.

Reduce the size of the illicit market to the greatest extent possible.

Offer legal protection to responsible actors in the marijuana industry who strive to work within the law.

Capture and invest tax revenue through a fair system of taxation and regulation.

The Commission also recommends the following goals for any group seeking to legalize marijuana by ballot initiative in California:

Limit youth access to marijuana, including its concurrent use with alcohol and tobacco, and regulate edible products that may appeal to children.

Ensure that our streets, schools and communities remain safe, while adopting measures to improve public safety.

Meet the needs of California’s diverse populations and address racial and economic disparities, replacing criminalization with public health and economic development.

Protect public health, strengthen treatment programs for those who need help and educate the public about health issues associated with marijuana use.

Protect public lands, reduce the environmental harms of illegal marijuana production and restore habitat and watersheds impacted by such cultivation.

Ensure continued access to marijuana for medical and therapeutic purposes for patients.

Provide protections for California consumers, including testing and labeling of cannabis products and offer information that helps consumers make informed decisions.

Extend the same health, safety and labor protections to cannabis workers as other workers and provide for legal employment and economic opportunity for California’s diverse workforce.

Ensure that small and mid-size entities, especially responsible actors in the current market, have access to the new licensed market, and that the industry and regulatory system are not dominated by large, corporate interests.

Considerations for DUID policy, whether medical and recreational systems should be merged or separate, regulating marketing and advertising, methods and amounts of taxation, questions on vertical and horizontal industry integration, local control to opt out, place of consumption vs. California clean air laws, and data collection are all addressed in the 93 page report.

Russ Belville

"Radical" Russ Belville is a blogger, podcaster, and host of The Russ Belville Show, a daily two-hour talk radio show focused on the evolution of the legal marijuana industry in the United States. The program is airing live at 3pm Pacific Time from Portland, Oregon, on, with podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Russ began his marijuana activism in 2005 with Oregon NORML, then in 2009 went on to work for National NORML, and found and direct Portland 2015.